Företagsfabriken works with the elite companies of the future
Företagsfabriken (the corporate factory) in Kronoberg celebrates ten years. Sandra Ruuda took over as CEO six months ago and can confirm that there are positive noises. The eight companies that are currently part of Företagsfabriken have considerable headwinds, for example in the form of successful raising of capital, product launches or rapid growth. But the requirements are also very high.
– The State Innovation Authority, Vinnova, which is one of our financiers, has as a requirement that the companies that are part of the company incubator must have the prerequisite to achieve a turnover of 30 million within five years. So you can see this as an elite venture for companies.
Företagsfabriken offers what is usually called a company incubator or business incubator, whose purpose is to promote and facilitate new companies' path to growth and profitability. Sandra, however, is not entirely comfortable with the concept of company incubator but thinks the name Företagsfabriken is more accurate.
– It describes quite precisely what it is about. We refine the business concept and the entrepreneur in the factory's processes and produce fast-growing companies.
Företagsfabriken is owned and financed by Videum, Linnaeus University's holding company and the Kronoberg region, but also has access to state funds through Vinnova and EU support.
– You can see Företagsfabriken as a catalyst that generates growth. We supply companies that create employment in Kronoberg. But not every company is accepted into Företagsfabriken. A basic requirement is to work with innovations and be able to present new ways of solving problems.
– We review both the business concept itself and the contractor's implementation capacity. Sometimes the business idea can be good but the entrepreneur is not considered to have the time, the patience or the energy to implement it. Sometimes we believe in the entrepreneur but perceive the business concept as inadequate. Then we usually urge the entrepreneur to come back with a new idea.
The companies that are accepted may join the Company factory for 30 months, and during this time receive assistance and support with business development.
– We will help them translate their visions into growing business. This may involve marketing strategies, financial planning, HR skills or seeking investment support. We tailor solutions for each company.
Although companies already have a brilliant business idea, do they really need your help?
– They certainly would have succeeded without us, but by participating in Företagsfabriken, they get a faster, safer and stronger exchange.
You talked about tough demands, including reaching 30 million sales within five years. What happens if the ascending curve breaks during the journey?
– It happens that the companies are not completing. We check and do a comprehensive evaluation every six months. We usually talk about "fail fast", that is the best to fail at an early stage. If it quickly turns out that the goals will not be met, it is better to cancel before you have spent too much of your capital and time.
When Sandra looks back at the total 90 companies that have participated Företagsfabriken during these ten years, she notes both bankruptcies and glorious success stories. Two examples of the latter are software developer Softwerk and Solutions for tomorrow, which makes mobile X-ray equipment. Right now, eight companies are participating in the Enterprise Factory, among others, the noted Happy at work, which creates tools to measure staff well-being in the workplace.
– Another exciting example is Berrybot, which deals with automated vertical cultivation. Overall, things are going well for our companies. Here is a lovely atmosphere with positive feedback and happy back dips right now.
In addition, it is now envisaged that the Företagsfabriken will continue to grow. Funding was recently granted for the three-year development project Framink, which aims to increase diversity and bring in companies from all over the region.
– So far, it has been very Växjö-focused, but Företagsfabriken should be open to entrepreneurs throughout Kronoberg. Many of today's giants come from smaller or medium-sized places, take IKEA in Älmhult and NIBE in Markaryd as an example. The goal is that today's 8 companies in Företagsfabriken will be 16.